Some of the highest hypocrisy within the American Drug War is often caught oozing from those same officials charged with enforcing its injustice. Eventually, however, someone comes along and exposes these two-faced henchmen for the gutter swine that they are, and drags the supposed integrity of the Controlled Substances Act further into the sewers of uncivil society.
The latest culprit in this tumultuous tale is Florida Judge Elizabeth Scherer, who signed off on a violent SWAT raid at the home of a suspected pot dealer in 2014 that resulted in the death of Howard Bowe and uncovered no illegal drugs. And while the concept of law enforcement being permitted to kick down the doors of innocent citizens and wreak havoc on their lives in the name of the War on Drugs may, by now, sound like a broken record, this particular case is somewhat unique, especially considering the judge who authorized this black ops shakedown was once married to a man arrested for dealing drugs.
Earlier last year, the Hallandale Beach Police Department requested a search warrant for Bowe’s residence because they believed he was running a small time pot operation. Judge Scherer, the young replacement for retired Judge David Krathen, granted the warrant based on a single piece of unsubstantial evidence: a confidential informant had, at one time, supposedly purchased weed from Bowe.
Although there was no reason for police to suspect that they would be met with armed resistance, a fully loaded SWAT team was sent to infiltrate the home. Michael McKenzie, reportedly the first officer to come crashing through the back door, shot Bowe, who was unarmed, in the stomach two times within seconds of gaining entry to the kitchen. It was later revealed through a series of reports that officer McKenzie opened fire without any provocation. Unfortunately, the bullet wounds sustained from the raid resulted in Bowe’s untimely demise. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
Interestingly, when a reporter from the Broward-Palm Beach New Times inquired as to why Scherer granted a search warrant based on miniscule evidence, she replied: “I just follow the law.”
However, as the story reveals, Scherer once slept with the enemy. Her husband, Anthony Mercer, was arrested back in 2009 for “holding an ounce of cocaine, a pound of pot, and some prescription pills,” according to a report. The majority of the charges were eventually dropped, and the incident did result in the couple’s divorce. There is speculation, however, that these ruptured nuptials only happened in an effort to protect Scherer’s career as a prosecutor for the State’s Attorney’s Office. After all, she was obviously in pursuit of bigger and better things, later being appointed by Governor Rick Scott to the 17th Judicial Circuit Court – a position that is likely tough to nail down if your significant other happens to be a convicted drug dealer.
Regardless of how the situation unfolded, it is difficult to believe that Mercer, who told authorities that he had been selling a little dope to help pay the bills, was conducting his illegal dealings without Scherer’s knowledge. Yet, she had no apparent conscious about allowing a gang of trigger-happy cops to raid the home of a man for “minimal or no drugs,’ which resulted in him being executed while he scoured the kitchen for his breakfast.
Reports indicate that Bowe’s family is still searching for answers, but neither Scherer nor the Hallandale police are uttering a word. Perhaps they are simply too busy trying to dig up criminal activity in a city that doesn’t have much. In 2013, local police made only 114 arrests – 41 felonies and 73 misdemeanors – with one of the largest drug busts resulting in the seizure of “three rocks of crack cocaine.”